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Polish women on strike, hold demos over near-total abortion ban

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WARSAW: Women in Poland walked off the job and hit the streets nationwide on Wednesday, the seventh straight day of mass protests over a court ruling to impose a near-total abortion ban in Poland.

Despite tight coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings, Poland has seen huge rallies against the ruling in both more liberal urban areas and traditionally conservative smaller towns. In an unprecedented move in deeply Catholic Poland, protesters have also demonstrated inside churches and sprayed their exterior walls with graffiti including the popular “#Women’sHell” slogan.

Tens of thousands of mostly young women and men on Wednesday flooded the streets of several cities including Gdansk, Lodz, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw among others, according to local media reports.

“Get your hands off my daughter,” read a placard carried by an older male protester in Lodz, while young women with banners saying “Nothing can stop an angry woman!” chanted “Enough is enough”.

Elsewhere, demonstrators carrying placards saying “Girls just want to have fundamental rights” chanted expletives against the governing nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, which backs the court ruling and is closely allied with the church.

In parliament on Tuesday, centrist and left-wing mostly female lawmakers held up pro-choice banners and shouted pro-choice slogans at powerful PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Parliament speaker Ryszard Terlecki — who is a PiS member — compared the protest symbol of a red lightning bolt to Nazi imagery.

Kaczynski, who is also a deputy prime minister, accused protesters of attempting to “destroy” the nation and rallied party members to defend Catholic churches.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020

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